Posted by Lindsey Ward
Mermaid, veterinarian, marine-biologist, coast guard, President of the United States of America – these professions make up the career aspirations timeline of my childhood and early adulthood. By the time I entered UT Dallas, I had my heart set on becoming a foreign ambassador to a country in Central or South America. By my first week of college, I already had a change in major from Interdisciplinary Studies to International Political Economy.
I am now entering my senior year, and my transcript reflects a similar variedness of my aspirations list: Interdisciplinary Studies, International Political Economy, Emerging Media and Communications, Arts and Technology, Literary Studies with Global Communication and Environmental Studies minors, Literary Studies with Arts and Performance double major.
For a long time, I had worried that I was wasting my undergraduate experience, wasting my share of the McDermott Program, and wasting time. Sometimes I’m not sure that I am cut out for adulthood and its demands. I have wondered how many other college students, bright students with ambitious goals, have gone through the same crisis concerning identity and future.
After some serious reflection and an encouraging word from one of the McDermott staff members, I am able to see through the fog of indecision and self-doubt into what was waiting for me all along—my life and whatever it may hold. My path through various majors at UT Dallas has enabled in me a well-rounded perspective that I would not have otherwise gained if I had pursued a more streamlined degree program. Without a traditional direction for my future, I have spent my summers following my passions—studying literature in an Italian castle, playing classical guitar in Spain, completing photojournalism projects at a sea turtle conservation camp and a family-owned coffee plantation in Costa Rica, and interning at a publishing group here in Dallas.
I’m learning that everyone has a different path. Some people come into college with a future mapped out, their passions discovered and paths clear. Some people come in with less of an idea, and they figure it out a couple of years in. Some people go through several ideas before finding the right one. Every path is different, but so is every person. Self-discovery is a lifelong journey, and college is a great time to throw yourself into everything you do and see where you stick.
My experiences have shown me that my passions lie in writing and nature. I love creating worlds and taking part in other people’s worlds through literature, and I love exploring and working with wildlife and the physical world around me. These are my two paths; this is my fork in the road—and with enough dedication, some guidance, and a little luck, I am confident that I can forge my own trail right between them.